Home: Prologue

Starting today, I am going to release my new book on my blog before publishing it on Amazon! Subsequent chapters will only be available to my patrons on Patreon, but the prologue is free to all. If you’d like to sign up for future installments, head over to my Patreon page. As little as $1 a month gets you access to the book (plus a free completed e-book at the end).  I hope you enjoy it!


Prologue

Matt slowed his pickup truck to a stop at the intersection and took a drag on his cigarette, the ember glowing like a firefly in the darkening twilight. He exhaled out the open window and the smoke ghosted into the air. Laura hated it when he smoked, but she wasn’t in the car and therefore wasn’t entitled to an opinion. He flicked the ashes out the window and stared at the red stoplight in front of him, inordinately long considering his was the only car there. The paper burned up the sides until Matt was nearly at the filter. He dropped it on the pavement and glanced at the half empty pack of cigarettes on the passenger seat, wondering if he should have another.

The light turned green and Matt accelerated, pack untouched.

The trees thickened around the road as Matt pulled out of town, the road transitioning from city street to forested highway. The sunlight dimmed, softening the sharper lines of the trees. Matt drove along the familiar road, his mind elsewhere and his body on autopilot. He wondered if she’d be there, wondered if he even wanted her to be there. He thought of when she’d smashed the beer bottle, remembered thinking he’d cleaned up all the glass until the next morning when he’d walked into the kitchen and caught a sliver of it in the sole of his bare foot. Laura had worn slippers.

Matt drove past an illuminated sign, lit by its own shining lights, one, two, three across, metal rods curved over the top like thin, reaching arms. The trees had thickened around it and its bright white background and thick black type were a harsh contrast to the soft, darkening forest.

“Life is short. Eternity is not.”

—God

Matt glanced at the clock. 8:49. He spun the dial of the radio, looking for any sort of broadcast, but he found nothing but static. He turned off the radio. With the sun fully gone behind the trees, Matt flipped on his high beams. As he did so, he drove by the God sign again. He glanced back, confused, and wondered if he’d imagined passing it the first time. He shook his head. Christ, I’m tired, he thought. He never had been good at sleeping alone and this was proof. Matt continued down the road and soon the God sign flashed by his car window again.

“What?” he asked aloud, eyes narrowed in confusion.

He knew he’d seen it before, this time he was sure of it. He kept driving down the road and sure enough, the sign appeared again. This time, Matt slowed his truck and pulled off to the side of the road, his headlights pointing at the sign. He rested his chin on the hard plastic steering wheel, staring at the sign through the windshield.

“Life is short. Eternity is not.”

—God

Matt sat for a moment, wondering if he’d lost his mind. He sat up and angled the truck back on the road, intent on passing the sign once and for all. Instead, it soon rose in his high beams once again.

“Life is short. Eternity is not.”

—God

“What the fuck?” Matt asked the cab of his truck, empty except for his cigarettes. He glanced at the clock on the dashboard. 8:49. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and it, too, read 8:49. No service. Matt tossed the phone on the cracked leather of the passenger seat and started to drive, this time turning around, his headlights swinging across the trees on the opposite side of the road before they righted and Matt drove back towards town. After a minute or so, the sign came into view, just as it had before.

“Life is short. Eternity is not.”

—God

“What the fuck?” Matt asked again, louder, his voice filling the empty air in his truck, jarring his ears. He pulled over, got out of the truck, and approached the sign. He wasn’t sure what he expected to find, but he’d hoped it’d be more than nothing–which is instead what he found. The black signposts on either side had recently been painted, the new layer shining in the light of Matt’s headlights. The sign was ordinary, black type on a white background. Matt examined each side, running his hands up and down the sign posts, over the front and back, ducking underneath it. Part of him expected to step through some kind of force field when he did so, but nothing happened. The only sound around him was the idling engine of his truck, the forest quiet.

Matt climbed back into his truck and pulled back onto the road. He flipped on the radio, willing to accept static over silence. He drove quickly but was unable to outrun the sign that waited for him once more on the side of the highway. Matt pulled onto the shoulder and parked again, staring at the sign from inside the cab. He flipped off the radio.

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Lola Black is a writer with an affinity for fantasy . . . especially fantasy football. She enjoys playing the slot, going for a first down, celebrating in the end zone, and she always insists on pass protection (safety first). Remember—it’s a game of inches.

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